The last time Ian Kennedy pitched against the Los Angeles Dodgers, all hell broke loose.
Leading 2-0 in the sixth inning of a game June 11, Kennedy threw high and tight to Dodgers rookie phenom Yasiel Puig, hitting (or at least grazing) him in the nose. Dodgers starter Zack Greinke retaliated by hitting D-backs catcher Miguel Montero with a pitch (on his third attempt) to lead off the seventh. The benches cleared, although not much happened.
In the bottom of the seventh, Greinke stepped into the batter’s box and was promptly hit in the shoulder by Kennedy, who was ejected. The benches cleared again — this time punches were thrown, resulting in six ejections.
In addition to his removal from the game, Kennedy received a 10-game suspension.
Tuesday, he faces the Dodgers for the first time since the June incident, so there’s naturally a lot of pre-game talk about how Kennedy will approach the Dodgers.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson joined Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 620 Tuesday afternoon and says he doesn’t expect his right-hander to be any more careful because of his history with Los Angeles.
“It’s important for (Kennedy) to throw inside,” Gibson said. “On Puig, you can watch, everybody’s tried to throw him inside. And not only inside, a little bit up and in is better than down and in.
“So if it gets away from him, there’s not going to be any intent there. We’re not trying to start trouble, we’re trying to play a clean baseball game and get guys out when we need to get them out and to win a game. It’s as simple as that.”
In the three starts that Kennedy has made since the Dodger Stadium brawl, he’s hit just one of the 75 batters he’s faced.
“Ian is a better pitcher when he throws the ball in all four quadrants of the plate — in and out, up and down of all places,” Gibson said. “It’s better for him and it took us awhile for us to convince him to throw the ball in there and make sure he got it in there.”
In the last few days, Kennedy has downplayed any extra significance that his Tuesday start against the Dodgers may be generating.
“I really don’t want to talk about that, it’s another start,” Kennedy said Sunday.